Life in Australia: what we value about where we live
Living in a safe area with access to good health care services and affordable housing is more important to most Australians than having access to parks and cafes, according to new data.
The realestate.com.au Life in Australia Index report, powered by Ipsos, shows that 67% of the 9,515 Australians surveyed value feeling safe as one of the most important factors in making an area a good place to live.
This was followed by having high-quality health care services nearby (60%), affordable decent housing (58%) and good local job prospects (41%).
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The study, undertaken last October, asked Australians to rank 16 attributes – such as local schools – as the main factors they seek in their ideal location, along with how well they feel their city rates for these same factors.
The data also shows a preference for reliable and efficient public transport (33%) compared to a lack of road congestion (19%), while access to the natural environment (32%) was more important than being able to view or participate in sports and recreation (7%).
A strong sense of community (26%) is also something Australians value about where they live.
Why we feel less safe
Australians feel less safe now about where they live than they did four years, according to the realestate.com.au Life in Australia Index report and its 2015 findings.
The sentiment doesn’t surprise realestate.com.au’s Chief Economist Nerida Conisbee who says safety is the number one consideration for renters and home owners.
“These would be factors that would make or break, in terms of looking at a suburb. If it didn’t feel safe, you’d be very unlikely to consider that suburb,” she says.
And when it comes to safety, the high ranking also reflects people’s perception of public safety.
“I think it’s that thing of people thinking there’s more crime going on because of reporting (on crime) versus the statistics that show there is less crime. I think it’s the way information is disseminated that’s probably making a difference,” she says.
“The more you hear about it, the more you worry about it.”
Data shows the housing boom has led to a notable decrease in local affordable housing.
“If you have a look at that study that’s done on global housing affordability, all Australian capital cities are in the top 20 so it is a very big issue here compared to other countries and it’s top of mind according to this report,” she says.
Access to health services ranks highly particularly in rural or regional areas, says Conisbee.
“If you move to regional parts of Australia it becomes a far bigger deal if you don’t have a local hospital, let alone a local doctor service.”
Which is Australia’s most liveable city?
For the Index survey, residents in each capital city were asked to rate their hometown for its ability to delivering on the 16 aforementioned attributes – and Canberra came out on top.
The ACT and Australian capital was ranked most liveable in the country for the third year in a row, with residents feeling more positive about their city than the national average.
Perth has jumped two places to number two on the list of most liveable cities, thanks largely to a prosperous economy ranking higher with locals.
Adelaide has also jumped two places since last year’s survey, to the nation’s third most liveable city due to a growing economy and increased job prospects.
Brisbane residents reported feeling less safe, and a decline in affordable housing saw it rank fourth in the country for liveability.
Hobart dropped three places this year, with an increased cost of housing having a negative impact on its liveability ranking. It is now ranked fifth for liveability.
While Melbourne might be globally considered one of the world’s most liveable cities, that’s not what locals think, rating their city sixth for liveability.
Melburnians feel less safe in their city, despite statistics showing a steady decline in crime, and there’s been a noticeable drop in social cohesion as well.
Rising house prices and tighter lending conditions aren’t helping Sydneysiders feel better about their city, with locals rating it seventh for liveability due to the lack of local affordable housing.
Darwin sits at the bottom of the list with locals rating it the least liveable capital city in the country. The median house price sits at $442,000.